Earlier this week, I found myself caught up in a daydream featuring a Back to the Future-type scenario.
I was heading to my office, and I was dreaming about hitting 88 mph and boom! I was flying back to the past to go and spy on my earlier life.
How cool would that be?!
I remember I had a good chuckle to myself, and then I had a thought, “What would I say to my earlier self? What kind of real estate advice could I give that would have completely revolutionized the course of my career?”
So, I decided I’d write a blog post about it and share my advice with the family here on BiggerPockets.
How to Invest in Real Estate While Working a Full-Time Job
Many investors think that they need to quit their job to get started in real estate. Not true! Many investors successfully build large portfolios over the years while enjoying the stability of their full-time job. If that’s something you are interested in, then this investor’s story of how he built a real estate business while keeping his 9-5 might be helpful.
The 6 Habits of Successful Wholesalers
The following are six key habits that if adopted since the beginning of my career as a real estate wholesaler, things would have been FAR more lucrative and would have run a lot more smoothly throughout the years.
So without further ado, let’s get started.
1. They Aren’t Innovative As You Might Think
I have found that having the right mindset is one of the greatest assets I can have in this business. I used to think that successful people were always the trendsetters, coming up with the latest and greatest marketing tactic before anyone else.
Throughout my years as a wholesaler, I’ve come to find out that this is simply not true.
The people who are the most successful in real estate tend to do what pretty much everyone else has always done. The key is doing it well and with consistency, but in real estate, you don’t ever need to recreate the wheel. The truth is, there is nothing new under the sun, and this business has pretty much run the same way for centuries.
Of course, modern technology has improved the way we do things, but the principles have always been the same. It might sound crazy, but I actually encourage people to follow trends in the industry and do what is known to get good results. I like to keep things simple, and I don’t think there are any real industry “secrets” in wholesaling.
Our business model is to use direct mail to get the phone ringing from distressed sellers, to know how to assess the value of the property in order to determine our price and profit margins, and to network in order to build our investor-buyers list. That’s really it.
So, don’t worry about trying to be sophisticated. Do what works, and keep it simple!
2. They Use CRM Software
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management software, and I have to tell you, this was a game-changer for me!
I am not the most organized person in the world. The truth is, if it weren’t for my incredible wife, I would probably walk out of the house every day with mismatched shoes, my shirt on backward, and different colored socks. In college, I was the guy you probably didn’t want as a roommate, just to be honest.
But this type of software has truly transformed my business and helped me make more money!
My company uses one called HighriseHQ, and it enables me to clearly organize every lead, conversation, and deal that comes in the door. Even if it ends up being a dead lead, in Highrise I’m able to assign a task that sends me an email reminder to follow up with the seller in 6 months, just to touch base. I can put in notes, assign to-dos to members of my team, and a whole lot more.
There are a lot of different types of CRMs out there, so you don’t have to use the one I’m using, but I have to honestly say that this is something that will change everything for you in your business. Stop using an Excel spreadsheet and get liberated. CRMs are where it’s at!
3. They Optimize Smart Phone Technology For Business
If you don’t have a smartphone in today’s day and age, you are doing your business a disservice. There are so many apps out there that will streamline and optimize your business that having a smartphone is a must.
Here are four examples of some of the apps that I use on a daily basis:
- Dropbox: An online hard drive that allows me to store and share everything from contracts to pictures, to videos and more. Essentially this is a virtual “filing cabinet” that my entire team has access to.
- Google Voice: This is a free service from Google that allows me to have a second phone number synced to my cell phone. I have found that holding a local number in the area I’m investing in is super useful, and Google Voice gives me a layer of protection in that my actual number is never advertised to distressed sellers.
- Tiny Scanner: This is an app that converts my phone into a basic scanner. I can take pictures of crucial documents, and it will convert them into scans! Super useful.
- Gmail Mobile: All my email accounts are connected to my phone, so no matter what’s going on with myself or my team, I’m always in the loop.
4. They Have a Designated Person or Organization to Answer the Phone
I have found that I can’t handle this business all on my own. Outsourcing and delegating has become a must in my business! You need to get the right people in the right seats for things to run at their best.
When I used to send out a direct mail campaign, there were always a ton of leads that I just simply didn’t have the capacity to handle. Now that I have someone on my team who specifically does it, we are handling all the leads way better, and we are doing more business as a result.
If you don’t have the ability to bring someone onto your team right now, another great alternative is to use an answering service provider that will filter through the calls and refer the actual deals to you. This will save so much time and free you up to focus on other things. It’s a crucial tool that I wish I had used a long time ago.
5. They Have a Great Website
This is something that I’m in the process of implementing right now. The truth is, in today’s world, your business really doesn’t come across as legitimate unless you have an online presence.
And, if you’re a business that has an outdated, pixelated and, well, ugly website, it almost comes across as worse than not having one at all.
There is a lot of potential to generate very low-cost leads via a good website, but you need to put some work in on the front end to make it pop. Having a web presence will add authority and trust to your brand, and it’s another thing that I wish I had done a long time ago.
6. They Have Access to Good Comps
For our final habit, I cannot stress how much value having access to the MLS gives my business. In this business, I need access to sold comps in my area, and all the online alternatives are simply inaccurate.
Now, I’m not saying that you need to have a license, but getting access to the MLS is a different story. The MLS is the standard for sold property data, and in order to be successful, it’s best to find a way to get access to it.
So if I were to go back in time and give myself advice on starting in real estate, these are the six things that I would bring up.
Now, I’m curious: What would you add to this list?
Let’s have some fun, and in the comments section list your top 3 habits that make you a better investor.